Missing the African Sun

 

 

 

With a week of afternoon-to midnight shifts ahead I made a goal of finally organizing my photo archives. With the pouring rain outside limiting my sports and going-out for coffee options, I have at least made a pretty good job at browsing the tons of pictures I have amassed over the past ten (!!) years. And while browsing I got lost in memories and thoughts. Yesterday I was musing over India, today, with the third day of consecutive heavy rain, a 48-hour rain, as the journals titled this morning, I am missing the African sun. Especially that warm light that I have only encountered in African countries. In South Africa, on the road, coming home to Jo’burg after a long day at work in Soweto, in Namibia, at the dunes when at sunset everything had a red glow, in Swaziland, when the sun broke through after heavy rains, in Lesotho, when dancing to traditional music on the hills, in Botswana, when the evening sun was setting the channels of the Okavango delta on fire, in Mozambique, when the sun was settling down over the sea bathing us in warm light. Also in Benin, Ghana and Togo when the sun turned the dusty air red. I miss that warmth that is different under the African sun than in other countries on the same latitude in South America or South East Asia. Maybe it is the more arid air in Subsaharan Africa maybe it is just me being nostalgic for the space and the vastness and the wonderful time I have spent there. I distinctively remember feeling myself so small but free and welcomed by that warm light every time I was traveling on the African continent.

 

I have a very special relationship with the African continent – South Africa was the first country I ever traveled to on my own, it is where I discovered backpacking and where I have returned to for work and holidays a couple of times. I admire the African continent for its diversity, the warmth of its people, the hospitality I encountered in all the different countries I set foot in, the nature, the vastness, the space…

My last big trip was in 2013 when I set foot in Cape Town, heart broken after a difficult and exhausting break-up, tired and disenchanted after a long and difficult year of thesis work, unsure about my future as a doctor. After three months, seven countries and innumerable inspiring encounters, I had found back to my roots, all the same forever shaped by the experiences I’ve made. I am forever grateful for that wonderful time.

I am getting itchy feet for that African warmth and sun again – for some time I’ve been plotting a trip to Malawi. Hopefully next year…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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